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The ornate Hackney Empire, with its old-worldly crimson curtains and gold inlay, is the perfect setting to watch London trio Daughter deliver their bone-chilling brand of moody and ethereal folk.

With the snow still settling outside, I shuffle through the 1300-odd punters here tonight up to the benchseats at the back and very top of the theatre, and from here it’s a perfect bird’s eye view of the stage. Even from up top, the sold-out venue feels intimate and the band’s atmospheric set, gripping.

The trio – singer Elena Tonra, guitarist Igor Haefeli and percussionist Remi Aguilella – step out of the darkness, and into their respective illuminated spotlights, typically timidly, with their heads downs and eyes firmly at their feet. With a sheepish “hello” from Tonra, the band launches into the beguiling song Into The Shallows, where Tonra hauntingly coos: “Come out, come out, to the sea my love… and just, drown with me”.

Throughout their hour-long set, Tonra’s delicate vocals sing dolorous ballads, of break-ups and breakdowns, set against Haefeli’s eerie and textured soundscapes (at times scratching at his electric guitar strings with a violin bow) and Aguilella’s measure and intensifying drum kicks. They quickly gain confidence onstage and, as the night goes on, begin to chirpily chat to the audience in-between songs while perfectionistly re-tuning their guitars. Their bubbly anecdotes belie their music’s dark undertones.

New songs such as Lifeforms are aired for the first time, but it’s songs Smother, Youth and finale Home that receive the most rapturous reception – wolf whistles, cheers and clap-a-longs come from all levels of the music hall.

Across their two EPs (His Young Heart and The Wild Youth); various sold out headline tours, including this show, their biggest to date; last year’s signing to prestigious label 4AD; and their recent performance on David Letterman; a simmering excitement has been building for Daughter that feels as if it’s at tipping point.

With their debut album set for a March release followed by a national tour in April, expect big things from this bright, talented trio.

For upcoming tour dates and more information on the band, visit ohdaughter.com


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Review: Bright Young Things - Daughter, Hackney Empire
Digital Mag

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